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Come Follow Me Insights (Doctrine and Covenants 84)
|Title||Come Follow Me Insights (Doctrine and Covenants 84)|
|Year of Publication||2021|
|Authors||Halverson, Taylor, Tyler J. Griffin, and Anthony Sweat|
|Publisher||Book of Mormon Central|
|Place Published||Springville, UT|
|Keywords||Covenant; Oath; Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood; Priesthood; Restoration|
Taylor and Tyler host Anthony Sweat in today's episode focusing on the basic truths of the Restoration.
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Come Follow Me Class Insights 31 D&C Sec. 84
I'm Taylor, and I'm Tyler, and I'm Anthony Sweat. This is Book of Mormon Central's Come Follow Me Insights. Today, Doctrine and Covenants section 84.
It's good to have Anthony join us again on this particular section because this is a – this is a big one.
I'm just honored you'd have me back first of all.
We're going to see if we can get it right this time.
Thanks for letting me be here.
But wouldn't you agree that section 84 would have to be on probably our shortest of short lists of what we would consider kind of those mountain peak sections in the Doctrine and Covenants?
I would say not only is 84 one of those top mountain peak sections as you said, that's well said, but I think there's three or four verses in here that could be mountain peak verses for – to summarize the entire purpose of the restoration, like getting at the heart of what is it that we have to offer the world. I think there's a few verses in here that are like, that’s it!
There you go. And that actually helps a lot in our message and when we interact with people of other faiths so even with our children, raising them or in our callings, to help people stay focused. You've heard the phrase keep the main thing the main thing. That's what section 84 is helping us to do.
And do you want me to tell you what verses they are? We'll wait. That was really good, cliffhanger here.
So let's begin Anthony, section 84, help us understand the setting, what's going on. This is what some people have affectionately termed Book of Mormon Day. September 22 every year is Book of Mormon Day. So this is the day that Joseph Smith finally receives the plates out of the hill. Iti's also that day when he went every year to visit with the Angel Moroni, September 22. I don't know that that necessarily ties in beautifully, other than it's in this section where we are reminded.
I had forgotten the Book of Mormon – it's a good tie in - and it brings us back – I hadn't thought about that. Yeah.
What's going on in context – I hate to say that it's a relatively calmer time because Joseph didn't have many of those in his life but September of 1832 is a relatively calm time in the Church. Joseph has moved back, we're in the Ohio period and Joseph lives in Ohio and he's moved in with the Whitney’s. He's upstairs, up above Newel's store where he's doing a lot of this work.
Yeah, and he has what they call a revelation or translation room and some six elders have recently returned home from a mission and they're actually giving a mission report to Joseph and they kneel down and pray together and after the prayer, Joseph arises and starts to dictate this revelation. So there's not a ton of like historical weaving in, but that's the setting that brings this about and it's good to know that he's talking to six people who've just come home from a mission because this section is extremely missionary centric, I mean, I think up front what I would want people to know is this section 84 is really the missionary section, particularly the second half of the section, it almost acted like a missionary guidebook, the first missionary guidebook – that – verses 60 to 120. It's all on guidance for missionaries.
How to be an effective missionary in the latter days. Yeah. It's beautiful. So it's a fascinating thing to note here that with these six elders returning, one or two of them point out something significant from their perspective that when they watch Joseph, when they finish this prayer and Joseph starts going into prophetic conduit from heaven mode, where he's actually giving words from the Lord Jesus Christ, he said, something shifts in Joseph. He's no longer the farm boy. So he's not speaking like your typical 26 year-old frontier man at this time. There's something serene that comes across in the cadence of his speech, the tone of his voice, the body language shifts.
Yeah. Steven Harper in his book Making Sense of the Doctrine and Covenants, he summarizes this great story that when Joseph starts to dictate like that to these elders, after they arise from prayer Joseph starts to dictate this monumental, mountain top revelation and this is what Brother Harper writes: Joseph began to dictate revelation just as Oliver Cowdery entered the room and sat near the fire. The other brethren sat as if transfixed, watching and listening. Joseph finished. Boys, have you got that written, Oliver asked? But no one had thought of writing. Can you imagine that? That was epic. They're just transfixed. Oliver then put his pen to the paper to scribe for the revelator. Joseph made a few corrections and Oliver read the text aloud. That's fascinating.
Yeah, so, the other thing to consider here is you'll notice in the heading that it starts on September 22, and finishes on September 23rd, probably going late into the night, a little bit over – they cut – it's probably a – well, everybody's a little tired, let's go to bed, they come back the 23rd, pick it up so the rest of the section is given on that next morning.
Yeah, and it's probably in verse 102 and 103. By the way, there's three copies of this revelation that exist, the original and then two copies that were made of it; one of those copies is in the BYU Herald B. Lee Library, but the break is probably between verse 102 and 103, that in those copies of those revelations there's a clear break between at the end of 102 "Forever and ever, Amen" and "And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, it is expedient." That 103 probably is where Joseph picks up the next morning on it.
This is beautiful. Okay, let's jump in to the actual verses. We've talked around the section and about the section. Now let's dive into the section. So as we pick it up in verse 1, I love the fact that he opens this similar to the way he opens many revelations: "A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high." You'll notice he's establishing this relationship of who he is – who they are – but I love the fact that he's acknowledging you asked. You weren't just sitting there waiting for something to happen. You were proactive you used your agency. You asked me, so here’s the revelation. I'm going to give you some revelation.
And I like – you probably know me well enough that I like particularly in big sections, I like to break them down to give myself a framework and I know how much Tyler likes to write on the board, so I'm going to write – you've got way better handwriting than I do. I like to call this – I break it into six sections in this revelation: the place which is verse 1 to 5, God's going to talk about the place of the New Jerusalem which is on their mind; the lineage which is verses 6 to 18 where the Lord's going to explain some priesthood lineage and how it came to be. Next, the power, verse 19 to 32 where the Lord gets into ordinances and the power they give us in our life. Then, the oath, which we’re excited to talk about the oath and covenant of the priesthood, that's 33 to 42 – the oath 33 to 42; the word verse 43 to 60 – there's this great connection there that we can look at and then the command for missionaries. And I summarize the rest of it, so 61 to 120, I'd say this is the command and it gives all these directives for missionaries.
It's kind of just a great way to break down what's going to happen in the section. He's going to talk about New Jerusalem, the lineage of the priesthood, power of priesthood ordinances with its oath and covenant of the Father, what the word does to bring us to that oath and covenant and then how missionaries are supposed to go out.
This is so helpful Tony, and remember, that this is one set of lenses that we can put on to say look at this. This is not- and there are probably 30 other lenses. Exactly, but what I'm saying is, is when you've got a section that's that meaty, that big, that substantial, it's nice to be able to break it into bite-size chunks and this is one way to do it and I love it.
Probably a poor way but –
I love it. It's great. So let's begin Tony with the place, the place referring obviously here as he's already mentioned, to Zion, out there on that western frontier.
Yeah, and so it's good - at the end of verse 2, that we're going to stand on Mount Zion, the city of New Jerusalem, and it's good to understand that Zion has lots of different definitions. Here he's talking about literally the City of New Jerusalem which Joseph had already been out twice and in the summer of 1831 he had dedicated, with Sidney Rigdon and others, they had dedicated the spot to build the temple; that had already been done in the summer of 1831. So now we're a little over a year later but it's good to just have that context as he's talking about these verses.
Yeah, just as a sidenote here, the fascinating tie in is he keeps referring to it as Zion or the New Jerusalem. You look, for instance, at verse 4: "Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built," and he told you in verse 3 that it's going to be built centered first on that temple lot and then going out from there.
The western boundaries of the State of Missouri dedicated – exactly. Now if you look at ancient Jerusalem, roughly that's the shape of the walls around Jerusalem at the time of Christ. So here you have the Kidron Valley, there's the garden that we call Gethsemane, over here is the Hinnom Valley, and right here, right down the middle of Jerusalem is the Tyropoeon Valley. The temple is built right here on the – on Mount Moriah. Over here, the high point, this is Mount Zion. That's higher, actually, than Mount Moriah. Herod's palace could look down into the temple mount. That is the high point physically of the city, but the temple, the holy of holies, is the high point of the whole world, the whole earth. In the Bible if you're going to Jerusalem, and you're an Israelite, you're going up to Jerusalem. Doesn't matter north, south, east, west, or what the geography is, you're going up because that is where heaven meets earth, the holy of holies, the presence of God.
And yet ironically, in the Old Testament and throughout antiquity, they would often refer to all of Jerusalem as Zion. So this is the old Jerusalem or this is Zion. Now what are we doing in the restoration of the gospel? A New Jerusalem. We're building a new Zion or a new Jerusalem, this mountain where God can come and meet women and men on the earth, on the fallen earth. This perfected, glorified God can bring his kingdom down to the earth. So there's this tie in and with the gathering of Israel, Joseph is very tuned in to the tribes of Israel and to the biblical promises of Old Jerusalem and New Jerusalem.
And the Book of Mormon promises. Back to Book of Mormon Day, you know you get into, where is it? Ether 13, that chapter, right? where he talks about the City of New Jerusalem will be built on the American continent, so those things are on his mind and that's a good segue into verse 4 and 5.
Exactly, so now, with that context of Old Jerusalem and the city where Jesus performed the most important act of all time, that infinite Atonement where he was slain for the sins of the world and paid the price to redeem our souls from the death of hell and the grave, both of those deaths, look at verse 4: "Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation."
The Lord definitely wants a temple built there and it might be good though, just since you brought it up, to look at footnote 4c. There's a great cross reference when it says the temple will be reared in this generation, Doctrine and Covenants 124, and verse 51, just highlight that footnote. It takes you to Doctrine and Covenants 124 which is given in Nauvoo and the Lord basically says, hey, you went forward and tried your best, and the Lord basically says in verse 49, “Verily, verily I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work and cease not their diligence and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of the sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.” So it's almost like the Lord later goes, I recognize that you guys tried to do this and your enemies came and stopped you and so I'm not going to hold it over your head.
And another way to look at that is you combine it then with verse 5 where he says "For verily this generation shall not pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house." I don’t think that any of those six elders, possibly not even Joseph at that time, knew that that prophecy was actually going to be fulfilled from verse 5, right there in Kirtland very – very shortly as far as the timeline is concerned.
That's a good connection with it, and with the cloud resting, in verse 5, one of the reasons why that could be when the cloud, that's Old Testament language, you know, cloud by day, pillar of fire by night, it's the presence of God and in that Kirtland Temple I don't know if we had more heavenly outpouring and manifestations, revelations, visions, the cloud, so to speak, the presence of God than in the Kirtland Temple.
Absolutely. Now let's shift gears. The lineage – what is – what is the big deal with priesthood lines of authority? Why do we care? Who gave you the priesthood, who gave him the priesthood and so on and so forth up to Jesus Christ? Why is this – why is this long list of Moses in verse 6 who got it from Jethro and Caleb and Elihu to Jeremy and Gad and all the way back to Abraham and then eventually back to Adam? Why is that significant?
Yeah, that's a really, before I answer that question, verse 6 is the longest aside in scripture. If you notice in verse 6: "And the sons of Moses, according to the Holy Priesthood which he received under the hand of …Jethro" and now we're going to get into this lineage, but then go all the way to verse 31, "Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses – for the sons," it's almost like verse 6 all the way through 30 is an aside where he goes and the sons of Moses, oh, and hey, and let me talk about the lineage and the power, okay, now let me get back, as I was saying about the sons of Moses. I love it. And so this lineage, he really does want to say where is your – where is this priesthood coming from which is what you want to talk about, this lineage.
Yeah, it's a big deal. Authority matters. It can't be just driven by well, I want to do good things and I want to – I want to prevent bad things from happening and promote good things. It would be like – it would be like me coming out and seeing Tony driving 80 miles an hour through a school zone and you're thinking, that's wrong, that's terrible, and noticing there's a police car right there that happens to be idling and the policeman's not in it. So I want to do a good thing so I go down and get in that police car and flip on the lights and I chase you down and I pull you over and I give you a ticket because I'm doing a good thing, right? There's a problem. I have no authority to do that. I can have the best of intentions but I wasn't authorized by the people whose right it is to give me that authority to administer that justice or administer that ordinance, so to speak.
Yeah, that's a good way to say it. But the reason why we care about it is because in essence when we're saying the priesthood, you're joining this lineage, or this covenantal that we'll talk about, this covenant family of God and really what we're saying is, where did you get your priesthood, your lineage, how did you join the family, how did you come into the covenant? And you can say well I was brought into the covenant by the authority of so and so and they were in the covenant or in the family and they got brought in by so and so and they got brought in by so and so, and that's important, by the way, for women also equally to men. If sometimes when we talk about priesthood lineages, it can be male-centric in the sense of its who can perform the ordinances, who has the authority? But there is also as a way to think of it is who brought me into the family – the covenant family of God and where did they get their authority to bring me into the covenant? We're all being brought in by somebody who was brought in by somebody who was brought in, who had the covenantal authority from God to do so.
I love it. Notice verse 17: "Which priesthood," so we're talking about – we've made it all the way back through our lineage back through Adam, now we shift leading into this power. Look at verse 17: "Which priesthood continueth in the church of God in all generations, and is without beginning of days or end of years." It's this – he's basically saying to me that this is not a flash in a pan; it's not this fly by the seat of our pants, oh let's try this for this generation. He's saying no, priesthood is this one powerful thread that comes down through the generations. What is it? It's as Tony was talking, it's not just limited to men, this is the power of God given to mortals on the earth to do the work of God which is the work of salvation through bringing people into the gospel covenant connection with God as well as teaching them the doctrines and the commandments that are associated with that covenant as well as giving them the ability to now spread that covenant into the whole world that they have capacity to reach and to teach.
This is powerful, if we look at priesthood in section 84 through this lens of this is simply God revealing look, this is how I do my work of salvation among my children on the earth, powered by the infinite Atonement of my Son Jesus Christ. I give them – I share my power with people on the earth to bring all this to pass.
And that's a good way, and to transition into 19, 20, 21 and 22, when I said when we started that there might be some verses that summarize the restoration, I think they're verses 20 to 22 as a whole, because what you were just saying Tyler, really what we are saying, we don't feel like we have a corner market in the world on faith in Jesus Christ or wonderful teachings about the Savior or truth about God. That's not our position in the Restoration. So we go all the way back to section 22 when the Church was organized, the Lord said this is all old covenants have passed away, this is to be a new and an everlasting covenant and what the Lord is saying is back to what you just said, what we're offering to the world is the covenant. It's pretty unique Latter-day Saint language to talk about the covenant family of God and I love to tie verse 20, 21, and 22 to even the First Vision. What Joseph is getting at is what - who has power, the power of God, how do we get the power of God? What church has this salvific, or the power to help us be saved in the presence of God? And when the Lord appears to a young boy Joseph, I'm not sure Joseph understands this. But the Lord says to Joseph a very interesting phrase, he says that the churches teach truth and there's some commandments of men in there, but then he says a really important phrase, he says they have a form of godliness but they deny the power thereof. That is a really interesting phrase. What could the Lord mean by they have a form of godliness but they deny the power thereof, or connected to verse 20, "Therefore, in the ordinances thereof," that's of the priesthood, in the ordinances of the priesthood "the power of godliness is manifest." That just tied all the way back to the First Vision, that Joseph, there's lots of great churches and things out there that teach wonderful things. The question is, do they have the power to perform the ordinances of the covenant? And then the Lord says in verse 21, because, "without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh." So without “this”, that pronoun would be these priesthood covenants and ordinances, "no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live," or in other words, come into his presence to be exalted with him.
Our Church, if I could say it so boldly, what we are offering to the world through the Restoration is we are saying that the covenant has been restored and the authority to administer that covenant, to bind us to God and one another has been reestablished on this earth. That's what we have to offer. That's powerful. That is so monumental as far as what you hear our prophets and apostles talking about, the gathering of Israel on both sides of the veil, that is what we are offering them, is come into this covenant connection with God. We're providing the authoritative means whereby you can actually come unto Christ and be perfected in him.
Yeah, and that's why I love our prophet has continued to say, President Nelson, how many times has he said continue on, or stay on the covenant path. It's all about the covenant and that's why I might be over – you know – my rhetoric might be too strong here so I apologize but I really think verse 20 and 22 get to the heart of the Restoration of what we're doing as a people as a whole, and the power of godliness that those ordinances can bring into our life.
I love it. Let's just very quickly pause here and do a quick review of the nutshell definition of these covenantal connections we have, and it shows up throughout the Old Testament and in the New Testament and it's in the Book of Mormon, this phrase, these phrases where he says I will be your God and you will be my people. Now we talk about Abrahamic covenant, we talked about Mosaic covenant or Sinai covenant, we talk about the temple covenants and baptismal covenants and marriage covenants and sealing covenants and all these other covenants in the Church that come up in our discussion, at the end of the day, if you peel back all the layers, peel back all of the trimmings and trappings down at the very core of every single covenant we make in the gospel of Jesus Christ and in the Church of Jesus Christ, you will find this: God is offering us the arms of his mercy and his love to come into his fold as his people and he promises I'll be your God.
So now with this in mind, notice what all prophets through the history of the dispensations of this earth have sought to accomplish. It's to bring people out of the world, out of slavery and bondage to sin and in Moses' case, literally in bondage to Pharaoh, and bringing them out into the wilderness and say, you know what, instead of worshipping the gods, the false gods of Egypt, I'm going to introduce you to the real God and he's going to be your God, you're going to be his people. Look at verse 23: "Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God." But their response - 24, they harden their hearts.
Yeah, they do and they're in essence, we're afraid of that God, Moses, and we're not sure we want this. So they want this – they want this intercessor. They want Moses to go and talk to God and then come back and tell us what we need to do rather than Moses getting out of the way and connecting them which is what he had wanted to do, which – which introduces a kind of a unique doctrine to us to what we believe in the Church regarding that experience of Moses coming down for the first time and seeing what's going on.
Yeah, it's really key, with what you're teaching here ,Tyler, that God wants all of his people to come up into his presence. It's truly what the temple, back to tying in this whole New Jerusalem, I want to prepare a people who are a nation of priests and priestesses, people who are my people, who have come up into my presence, that the temple is giving us this metaphorical, symbolic journey of, and I'm going to give you the ordinances to do it, but they say, nope, let's just let Moses be our intercessor. And so it's really interesting, they go to verse 23 that you just mentioned, that they – “Moses sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God; but they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is a fullness of his glory”, or a fullness of the priesthood. The Lord's like, well fine, you can't have a fullness of the priesthood, therefore, he took Moses out of their midst and the holy priesthood also.
And there gets to be some confusion here like, oh, well, they didn't have the priesthood or they lost the Melchizedek priesthood. People will ask Joseph Smith this. Did God take away the Melchizedek priesthood when he took away Moses? And Joseph goes, hey, it's all Melchizedek priesthood, all priesthood is Melchizedek, Joseph says. There's just different portions or degrees. So what is it that the Lord took away then? So I would go, make sure you highlight footnote 24e that takes us to this Joseph Smith translation of Exodus 34 verse 1 to 2, and it gives some new insight and in that we learn that when Moses came down off the mount, what was he carrying? Well look at, if you go to that footnote, this is the Joseph Smith Translation for Exodus 34, 1 to 2, The Lord says, "Hew thee two other tablets of stone like unto the first that Moses break, and I will write upon them also the words of the law according as they were written at the first on the tables that thou brakest Moses," but then here's the key, "but it shall not be according to the first for I will take away the priesthood out of their midst, therefore, my holy order and the ordinances thereof shall not go before them, for my presence shall not go up in their midst lest I destroy them." In other words, it seems that the Lord took – he was ready to give them all of these higher ordinances of what we would call today the temple. He was ready to give them the fullness of the priesthood and the covenant of this order of the Son of God, but they rejected it. The Lord took it away and said I'm going to give you a base one. What's significant about the Restoration is the Lord, through Joseph Smith is having Joseph be a new Moses. And I personally think if Moses were to walk into a temple session today and see all these women and men receiving these ordinances, I think Moses would go, Joseph, you've created the kingdom of priests and priestesses, good job. That's what Moses was trying to do all along, that we're reestablishing here in these sections in the restoration.
So just to clarify the distinction between what they're calling in this section the lesser priesthood and the greater priesthood, as Tony pointed out, Joseph Smith made it very clear, all priesthood ultimately is Melchizedek, but there is a lesser order of that priesthood called the Aaronic, so just to clarify here, you have the twelve sons of Jacob or the tribes of Israel. One of those is named Levi, that third son, Reuben, Simeon, Levi and then Judah, that third son is Levi. Four hundred years down the line you have these two brothers Aaron and Moses who are both descendents of Levi four hundred years before them. You've got this Egyptian apostasy in the middle here. Moses holds that higher priesthood that we would today in our Church just say he's got the Melchizedek priesthood. Aaron is given that what section 84 is calling the lesser priesthood or the Aaronic priesthood. Often in the Old Testament it will be called the Levitical priesthood. It comes down through his line. Just to clarify, in the New Testament you get things like the parable of the Good Samaritan and in there it talks about a Levite and a priest. Anyone who is a descendant of the tribe of Levi is a Levite. Anyone who is a descendant of Aaron is a priest in that New Testament context. So all priests are Levites but not all Levites are priests.
So this lesser priesthood as it's described in section 84 holds some powers. It holds some abilities. It's not like they rejected God and he said fine, I'm not going to give you anything. This to me shows me God's attribute of mercy that he will give you as much law and as many commandments and as much of a covenant connection as you're able to handle without totally condemning you and dooming you to failure. And I love the fact that he went through – Moses went for the big connection, they didn't take it, and so he then gives them as much as they're able to take and we call it the Law of Moses but keep in mind, the Law of Moses isn't bad. Sometimes we talk about it in derogatory terms. The Law of Moses was given by God as a connecting point with these people who weren't willing to connect at this level but they were willing to connect at that Law of Moses level, and so these next few verses describe what they did retain. Verse 27: "…the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments," this outward law, so we can see God's mercy at play in this ancient story and guess what? It's at play today because if I'm struggling with some of the commandments, we have a Savior who is – who is doing everything he can to help me be as – find as much enduring joy as possible. He'll give me as much as I am able to handle. That's a different conversation with people of other faiths, when you – when you don't have to make them feel like they have nothing and you have everything, but rather this inviting, hey, bring all the good that you have, bring it with you and let's see if we can add to it some additional covenants, some additional connecting points with God.
I think it's a quote from President Hinckley there. There you go. I do think it's important though to keep us focused on covenant and ordinances because sometimes when we get into this Melchizedek and Aaronic, we get lost in offices of the priesthood, deacon, teacher, priest, you know, elder, seventy. In this context, the Lord – that's why it's good to keep it the context of what he's teaching, he's teaching about covenants and ordinances and that is so important to grasp when he's talking about, because that will set up for the next part as we talked about the oath. I do just need to make one aside before we move onto that in verse 28 speaking of all of this and John the Baptist, for he was baptized, speaking of John at the end of 27, “For he was baptized while he was yet in his childhood and he was ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old”. Under this, sometimes people are like, John the Baptist receiving the priesthood oath and covenant and ordinances, I'm not sure that's what it is saying, I think maybe a better word would be he was blessed or he was chosen or he was – actually set apart for this - assigned, but he's not receiving priesthood offices and ordinances for this when he was eight days old.
So as you see right here in verse 31: "Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses," he is picking back up all the way from verse 6 about the sons of Moses and this lineage and this power of the priesthood. "For the sons of Moses and the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord," and if I could make another cross reference, cross reference that with Doctrine and Covenants section 128 verse 24, where again, back to what you've just taught here Tyler about the sons of Levi and the sons of Aaron, well the sons of Moses and the sons of Aaron who are they today? Joseph Smith says, he quotes that the Lord will “purify the sons of Levi, that they will offer an offering in righteousness unto the Lord” and then Joseph gives the interpretation. He says let us therefore as a Church and as a people offer an offering unto the Lord and let us present when it is completed in his holy temple a book containing the records of our dead. It's back to ordinances to bring them into the covenant family of God through performing ordinances in their behalf and it's all connected back to the temple.
Isn't it interesting, Taylor's talked about this before, the significance of this word, [order] he keeps using that word in association with priesthood and the word [ordinances] that is directly related to it? Yeah. So do you see any significance there that would help us understand as we get ready to launch into the oath and the covenant of the priesthood the fact that those two are at the core of what we're talking about? And remember, when we say the order, the phrase that comes to me is the order of the Son of God, the holy priesthood after the order of the Son of God or as we just read in that Joseph Smith translation, the Lord took the holy priesthood and the order – priesthood is something that we enter into by a covenant relationship with God and as we're taught, this is for women and men. When we – when we only talk of priesthood as these offices we hold, we miss the order, and I like to think of the word order almost like a pattern. Elder Robert E. Hales said in the temple we establish patterns of righteous living. And through the holy temple we enter into this order of priests and priestesses that teach us a pattern of holy living so that we can come into the presence of God and receive his power. It – that is powerful! It's amazing! It's an order of living, it's a process, it's a sequence, it's a pattern, it's a way that people mold their life after Jesus Christ who was the great High Priest. That's what we're all trying to do as latter-day Saints today, men and women.
I love it. So that whole process begins with an initiatory and this endowment of power and you keep going back and you keep estab – you keep repenting, you keep forgiving and he keeps working with you and sometimes we get so focused on our imperfection that we forget that he has infinite perfection to share with us as we progress in this order. Another way to describe this would be the Jacob's ladder or the covenant path or the straight and narrow path or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being in full fellowship. Lots of ways that you can describe what God is doing with men and women as they progress in this order.
And some of that progression we can think of it as, instead of thinking of it like a corporate ladder like offices that we climb, to think of it in terms of the order, like am I receiving the order or ordinances of the Aaronic priesthood? Am I receiving the order or ordinances of the Melchizedek priesthood? Now so baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the endowment which teaches us Aaronic and Melchizedek orders or ordinances, this is how priesthood becomes more inclusive of the entire Church and to put it concretely too back to what are we doing? And I would invite everybody to go look at the General Handbook of Instructions section 27 – that's extremely nerdy that I know this off the top of my head. I was going to say wow, that's amazing. Section 27 on temple ordinances, the leaders of the Church have given a great summary of the five major laws and covenants: obedience, sacrifice, the higher law of the gospels, chastity, consecration, and they give definitions of them there publicly for everybody. These are the kind of orders in the holy temple when we go into there the Lord is trying to teach us these patterns of righteous living, to come into his presence and to gain his power: we're chaste people, we’re consecrated people, we're obedient people, we're people who are willing to sacrifice for the Lord so that it's not too abstract, so we see some concrete applications.
That's beautiful. It's beautiful. Now let's dive into verse 33. Let's hit – let's hit kind of the meaty section here regarding this priesthood, and keep in mind, as we jump in, so we'll mention the beginning and the middle and the end that this is not just referring just to the men. In fact, we've been told by our leaders of the Church to be careful because in the past we've often referred to the men of the Church with a label, we'll often say the priesthood is going to meet over in this room. It's a misnomer. The men are not the priesthood.
So we're going to start talking about this oath and covenant of the priesthood that we’ve seen in the beginning of verse 33, but let's actually start in verse 40 and let's read this and I want you to pay attention to some words like the word receive. Verse 40: "Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved." Now I want you to think about what other things do you receive in life? You get baptized and then you receive the Holy Ghost. You don't own the Holy Ghost, you don't create the Holy Ghost. In fact, you don't get the Holy Ghost, you receive it. I think this is significant when we think about the oath and covenant of the priesthood, people often think they're the ones who are making the oath and making the covenant. They're not. God has made the oath and he has made the covenant and he invites us in, but the Holy Ghost, we are invited to receive it and what's powerful here is earlier we had this little infinity symbol here that God is infinite. He has everything and he wants to fully invite us in and the order of the priesthood is the way to make that happen so as you engage in this covenantal relationship, God is trying to point out what he is offering. He's offering everything and then he invites us to do certain things and sometimes we get so fixated on what God asks us to do we sometimes miss what God has fully and entirely offered. I love what it says here, (That's a great insight Taylor), “he cannot break”, that he is actually talking to God. God cannot break the oath and covenant. He's eternally bound. In fact if you go back to Abraham, Genesis 12 verses 1 to 3, this actually is part of the same oath and covenant. God comes to Abraham and says here's all these things that I'm going to give you Abraham. I'm going to give you priesthood, posterity, property and prosperity. I'm going to do all these things for you and he binds himself in eternal oath to Abraham and to all of his descendants. And so when we look at section 84 it actually in some ways, it's an explanation of what Abraham received way back in Genesis 12 that we all have full access to – total and full access and what we're learning here in 84 is what can we do to fully enter into this relationship so God can give us everything? And so if you ever feel discouraged like oh man, I'm not good enough, know that God is good enough, and know that God will continue to work with us to bring us into this relationship. He is deeply anxious to be in the relationship with us.
Earlier as we were preparing for this lesson we talked about a marriage relationship. You guys were talking about how God often – you brought this up – God often describes himself in this marriage relationship with us. If you think about all the revelations, God wants to be with us, like almost in a marriage relationship and in a marriage relationship you become unified and everybody pools all their resources. When you think about it, God is everything, yeah, and when you think about it, (we're bringing a dollar to the marriage, maybe) and he's like so infinite plus one. My kids like to do that. I know of a number bigger than infinity but we become part of this whole infinite. So I just want to focus on that verse because we get into these offices, these really fascinating verses beginning in verse 33 about you know Aaron and Moses that sometimes we miss what God is trying to teach, that this is God's oath and his covenant that he's inviting us to receive.
And in verse 40 and I would mark and highlight that “receive” as you mention Taylor, just to re-highlight it, this oath and covenant of my Father. It's his oath, his covenant that he's inviting us into, not the oath and covenant of any member of the Church, and it's for women and for men because God's power is priesthood power and all of us can receive it just like the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is for women and for men and all of us can receive it and it's the power to be saved and exalted and to become like him which we all are given through the grace of Christ and this covenant relationship to do.
That's a beautiful insight Taylor. To set the stage as we now go back and jump into verse 33 with this powerful intro that he gives where he says, "For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies." What did he just tell us?
Well I would again frame this under the covenantal context of priesthood through ordinances, "Whoso is faithful unto the obtaining of these two priesthoods" and the ordinances of them attached to those priesthoods. Now I want to be clear. Prophets have clearly taught that there is a oath and a covenant that a man makes when he enters into Melchizedek priesthood offices. I'm sorry to be too terminology centric, but when a man becomes an elder, for example, the prophets have clearly taught there is a promise of faithful service there, but in this context that's not what this is discussing. We're just looking at it in the broader context of in the context of covenant and presence of God, (correct), and so we are faithful to the obtaining of the ordinances of these two priesthoods. That's why you'll have your body sanctified and renewed. Now that could be the promise of, you know, certain temple blessings on earth for faithfulness. I personally interpret that as that's a promise of glorious resurrection. You'll have your body renewed and that's a promise to all the faithful. You become, in verse 34, the sons of Moses and of Aaron and again, I would caveat that with the cross reference of Doctrine and Covenants 128:24 where Joseph says that is us as a Church and a people today, people who are serving and working in these temple roles in the priesthood today. You become the seed of Abraham and the Church and kingdom and the elect of God and also all they who receive this priesthood receive me and this is one of the ways where we know he's talking ordinances is because the way that we receive Jesus is through ordinances, we take his name upon us through ordinances. We receive Jesus.
Verse 36: "And he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, where if we receive Jesus we receive the Father and he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father's kingdom, therefore," and then the promise, "all that my Father hath shall be given unto him," back to what Taylor was talking about. When we're connected to God, we receive everything that God has to offer because we're part of his covenant family and this, in verse 39 is “according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood”, and I think it's convenient that in the English edition of the scriptures there's a big blank right there and I would write in the word ordinances. This belongs to priesthood ordinances, and the reason why this is important is because back to discussions of women and men, well of course both women and men will have their bodies renewed. Both women and men are part of this priestly serving in the temple. Both women and men are the seed of Abraham, this covenant family of Abraham, both women and men are part of the elect of God. They're both receiving Jesus and the Father, there's no question, and if there is a question by anybody out there who's listening going I think this is false doctrine, so recently President Jean Bingham, the Relief - General Relief Society President of the Church sat down with President Nelson, the President of the Church, and they had a discussion about these verses. Don't you wish you knew what the General Relief Society President and the President of the Church talked about? There was a video, you can watch the video. But let me read a transcript of it. Jean Bingham says this to President Nelson. They read these verses and Jean Bingham says, the priesthood is just as relevant to women as it is to men and that blessing also extends to women just as much, and we're talking about these blessings of the oath and covenant. President Nelson says of course it does. Jean Bingham says, now President, help me see if my understanding is correct. And then she explains her understanding of the oath and the covenant and President Nelson gives his summary of it but then here's the point. Jean Bingham then says so that is just as relevant to women as it is to men because all those priesthood blessings from the oath and covenant of the priesthood are enjoyed by both men and women. President Nelson answers and says, totally, exactly, exactly. So that's a great prophetic and authoritative statement from President Bingham and President Nelson discussing that very concept.
I love this. Let me use a little object lesson analogy for a moment. So a wedding ring or if you think through this concept that Taylor introduced of this marriage relationship between a man and a woman being likened to the kind of relationship that the Savior wants to have with us and ultimately then share with us and the Father bringing us all so that we can be one. At the end of this long experience of dating, courtship and engagement, I promise to give all that I have, all that I am, everything. We are going to become one. Everything that's yours is mine, everything that's mine is yours, we share our dreams, we share our frustrations, we share our struggles, we share our successes. It's all combined. That's what these ordinances and the order of the priesthood for men and women is doing for all of us is God is saying, here, I'm promising you I will give you everything I have in the eternities but we need to establish this covenantal agreement between each other and you need to be faithful to me. I will always be faithful to you.
That's – I'm sorry to interrupt you – forgive me for that but I love that you just said faithful, and another word for faithful would be loyal, dedicated. It's not about there's sometimes just speaking frankly, we can get a perfectionism that happens in our Latter-day Saint culture. I know I've been guilty of it sometimes; I see it in others and what I've discovered is God does not want perfection because that's an impossibility, what God in this life – God doesn't want perfection, he wants dedication. He wants loyal. I can't do perfect but I can do loyal. And that is helpful to help us continue on the covenant path.
What I love about this idea of loyalty is I actually struggle a lot with perfectionism and a few years ago as I was studying the scriptures and some scholarship about the scriptures, that very word about faithfulness and loyalty and like oh, it's not about being perfect, God's perfect. My job is to be loyal and dedicated and then it became clear, I have that opportunity every single week. To declare your loyalty. With the sacrament and wherever you're at in your life, you might ask yourself, am I seeking to be loyal to God? Am I seeking to be prayerful? Am I taking the opportunity to participate in sacrament?
Now there are other ways of showing loyalty to God but that's a great way of taking your temperature of your loyalty. Are you on a regular basis declaring your loyalty to God? If you look at the sacrament prayer it's – we say we promise to always remember God and what do we get in return? We receive his Holy Spirit with us at all times.
And with that with the sacrament Taylor, I'm going to say that because in a marriage relationship again, there are sometimes we are not perfect spouses and when we're not perfect spouses, the way we continue in the marriage is we apologize, we recommit, we say, you know, I love you, we reaffirm our love, we say, I understand that I've been amiss here, we confess, now in a marriage we call that an apology. In the gospel we call that repentance accompanied by a covenant renewal and commitment.
It's fascinating, so what we have is, I'm sure my wife would like to have a perfect husband but she needs a loyal husband and that's what God wants from us and it's such a beautiful principal. All of us can be loyal even if we make mistakes at times and God is like I'll forgive you, just keep – stay in the relationship, don't walk away because you've made a mistake. Because if you do that it's really hard for me to help you be your better self.
Don't you find it interesting that what Taylor and Tony just discussed right there is this ordinance that gets repeated, it's the only ordinance that you and I participate in for ourselves that's repeated. I only get baptized once. I only get my endowment once but the sacrament is a way for men and women and children to come to an ordinance, to enter into that order of receiving the blessings of the priesthood, the power of God manifest in our lives every week. One of my wife's phrases that I have grown to love is it doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful and that's what that ordinance of the sacrament does for me is to say, whew, thank heavens, I get to recalibrate every week with his perfection and reconcile my imperfection.
And I think in this context what you're teaching, Tyler, and both what Taylor has said also, that is the only thing that really makes verse 41 and 42 understandable, is to read this in this covenant ordinance connection because if we break and walk away from if as Taylor was saying, don't walk away from the relationship, and as you were saying, renew this covenant. If we walked away from the covenant then we won't have forgiveness. In verse 42, then we're on our own. There's a woe, it’s this idea of, if you're in the covenant with God, you're with God and he's got you covered, Book of Mormon doctrine, if you're not, you are on your own and the atonement is not covering you because you're not within this covenant family.
Beautiful, within the arms of his mercy and power and love. So moving onto this next section of 43 to 60, the word, there's this really cool, just marvelous thing. It's this progression, this progression of God unfolding, it's like he's pulling back the curtain and you get more and more and more of this depth of understanding. How do we come to the covenant? Well look at what the Lord says starting in verse 43 and I would highlight these, verse 43 says: "give diligent heed to the words of eternal life." So the word, and then in verse 45: "For the word of the Lord is truth," so word is truth, "and whatsoever is truth is light," so word, the word is truth, the truth is light and then the light is Spirit in verse 45, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Isn't that beautiful that it now leads into 46, "And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world." What percentage is that? Everyone. I'm a pretty good mathematician there. "And the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit." God's invitation is to all and none are denied entrance if they will hearken to the Spirit. Yah, and then he picks back up with the Spirit in verse 47: "And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God," so now you're brought to God and then look at tying this all back together in verse 48: "And the Father teacheth him of the covenant." What a beautiful progression. I would just highlight those things in there. The word, starting in verse 43, the word, the truth, the light, the Spirit brings you to God and God teaches you of the Covenant. It's a wonderful progression of how we're brought into the covenant and how we're taught about the covenant.
That's beautiful. Now before we jump into the commands to the missionaries, there's a little rebuke which to me is one of those additional signs that God really is our Father in Heaven. C. S. Lewis is the one who said on one occasion that most of us would prefer to just have a grandfather in Heaven who just makes sure that everybody's having a good time and that the children are enjoying themselves -are happy and have some ice cream - but a parent recognizes when some things need to change, when you're not doing what you need to do and I love the fact that you get that in here. He's talking about the world's lying in sin and groaning under darkness and the bondage of sin. And then verse 54: "…your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received – which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation." That's pretty strong language. Verse 56: "…this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say but to do according to that which I have written." It's one thing – it's one thing for us to preach the gospel and to teach the ideal and unfortunately, it's the entirely different thing for us to go home and strive to live and to become that ideal, and that is the covenant path that we've been talking about all along where Jesus helps us through that process of his perfection, not working through our perfectionism over time. President Benson obviously had some things to say about those, yeah, he sure did. And I think we are still benefitting from the blessings of that prophetic guidance in that day.
You see it in the rising generation. They know the Book of Mormon very well. Now obviously there's more to learn from it and there's a lot more to grow but in comparison they have reaped some fruit from President Benson's focus using these very verses to focus on the Book of Mormon.
Alright Tony, let's – let's cover this last, the big chunk, the second half. The second half of section 84. We've done one half but they are so doctrinally rich and the second half is, I like to call it, is the original missionary handbook. You know one quick, while we're talking missionaries here and the Lord says therefore go ye in all the world, we know that command. That's the great commission, you know, but then look what he says, "Go ye into the world, and unto whatsoever place ye cannot go ye shall send, that the testimony go from you into all the world unto every creature." Now in 1832 there is no way that they had any concept of our ability today to send the word out. They were probably thinking wherever you can't go, send, they're writing letters or they're printing things in newspapers. Today there's lots of places you and I cannot go, but think of all the marvelous tools that have been created and put in our hand so that places we can't go we can send the word out using social media and technology and everything that's at our hands to flood the world, as Elder Bednar said, with goodness and truth, leveraging the technology we have to send it out.
You look at what our – our First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, Quorums of the Seventy and our General Relief Society, Young Women, Primary, Sunday School, Young Men presidencies, you look at their ability today to do exactly what 62 is talking about, verse 62, with the use of these technologies that God inspired the invention of, wow, the voices of these leaders of the Church can now reach into nearly every corner of the earth. It's marvelous. And you don't have to get on a plane to do it. Yeah, it's marvelous.
Beautiful, now as you turn the page over, notice at the bottom of verse 63 he gives a label here. He says, "ye are they whom my Father hath given me; ye are my friends." Brothers and sisters, this is one of those, for me, one of those little tender moments in scripture. It's just amazing to me that somebody as great as he is would condescend, so to speak, it's part of his great condescension to come down and say ye are my friends. And that's coming from the King of Heaven, the Prince of Peace, the almighty Alpha and Omega and he's saying ye are my friends and he's going to repeat that in verse 77 again. I think that's significant for any of you or us today who are on a mission, who are serving in the Church in whatever capacity or serving under divine direction in any role in your family even, this idea that ye are my friends, I'm with you. I'm going – I'm going to be with you because that's what friends do. I've got your back, go and do the best you can and I'm going to make up the difference so for the missionaries out there who maybe feel a little inadequate, who feel like they're not very good at the language, they're not very good at the people skills, they're not very good with their companion, they're not very good at teaching, are not very good at giving talks or the bishops or the relief society presidents or the ministers who feel like I'm just not good enough, I love that word, ye are my friends. If you think about that, that can be empowering as you then move forward in your calling.
It's important as we're talking about these verses in the context of directions for missionaries, it's also another quick application, there's actually a lot of things in here that aren't applicable anymore in terms of missionary directives, like I just jotted these down like verse 86, go without purse or scrip, which means go out and preach without money or food and make other people take care of you. We don't do that anymore today. That's outdated. Verse 89, don't go out depending on the kindness of strangers to house you, can you imagine if you sent your kids out into the world that way today how that would work? Verse 92, we don't dust and wash our feet off and condemn people who don't receive the gospel. Verse 103 and 104, we don't send mission money back home from our missions. Verse 107, we don't send priests out to set our appointments anymore. Now verse 107 and 111, maybe we should, but that's not the pattern that we're following. I guess what I'm trying to say is it's interesting to watch the Lord through his servants to adjust different practices of missionary work and different policies, these were the practices in 1832 that work for them, today the Lord says there's different practices and different policies to accomplish the same objective, and those will change and we need to be okay that that was for them and that we have different directives today.
And Tony when you and I served our missions we had some very clear directions in our missionary handbook and in our missionary guide how to teach and the lessons, what we taught, compared to what our children have and it's okay, this, to me, is a mini-lesson in follow the living prophets. Don't pit the living prophets against the past prophets and say well I prefer the way that so and so 59 years ago worded it or even in these kinds of situations it is our current prophet’s right and privilege as seers and revelators to get the directions that we need for right here, right now. I love that you pointed that out.
There are directives for the time, prophets for the time and commands for the time. And I will not be judged based on how well I follow the policies and the procedures given to the Church by Brigham Young or Joseph F. Smith or George Albert Smith. It is today. It's a little bit like building codes on a home. I'm not held to building code standards of 1912, nor will I be held to building code standards of 2121. I'm held, if I'm building something to the codes of 2021. That's correct. Love it.
Now look at verse 85 because I don't know that this part has been rescinded. Yeah. Neither take ye thought therefore…what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man. When you and I served we had memorized missionary discussions. We just had to memorize them and deliver them. Today our missionaries are given a little more freedom to apply verse 85 under our current directions.
I still remember some of those phrases in Spanish. I love that idea that in your callings, sometimes when we're teaching or leading, we feel like we need to have to have everything perfectly lined out what we're going to say. It runs in my mind that it was Elder Bednar on one occasion who said the teacher who worries him the most is the teacher who knows exactly what they're going to say and how they're going to say it, because it's almost as if that teacher is saying to God, I got this, I don't need your help. I'll do the teaching here, whereas the missionary or the leader or the teacher who says I'm going to fill my mind and my heart with as much – I'm going to treasure up as much of the words of life as I can but at the end of the day Lord, it's thy work. I want to assist in it. Here I am, send me. What can I do to be most effective? There's something liberating and powerful in not being the one feeling like I've got to own this lesson or this talk or this mission, but rather to take the hand of the Almighty Son of God and say, let me walk with you, guide me as I move forward in faith.
But I do think just a quick application with that, in our day of Google, in our day of look everything up, which has its benefits, you know, the Lord still says fill your minds so that you can have recall in the moment. There is something beautiful to putting things in our minds and memorizing and trying to master things so that God can draw from us as we bring things together as a whole. Google cannot synthesize, but we can as the Lord works with us as we treasure up in our minds.
Look at the beautiful promise in verse 88 for all of us: "And whoso receiveth you," now we get it, this is speaking to missionaries in 1832 and I think it's very applicable, directly applicable to missionaries in the 21st century as well, but I think it's also applicable to parents and it's applicable to every calling in the Church. "Whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." Beautiful verse. Brothers and sisters, all you got right there is one manifestation of what it means to be on the Lord's errand, to be his people, and he's now treating you like only an infinite God can treat you. Nothing on this world can make you that promise, but he can, and he did, and he will and he does keep that promise.
You know moving forward in verse 99 we actually get a song written by God which, there's this we'll lift up our voice and sing this song, look at verse 99 through 102, the song of redeeming love. It's beautiful. It's kind of fun to think that the Lord writes lyrics of a song; I'm not sure it's ever been put to a tune, I don't know if I should put you on the spot to sing it right now.
Yeah, it would not be a celestial song at that point so I'm not going to do that. I do like this, and you know it's this singing the song of redeeming love, I don't know if it's a literal tune or not, but it is this, if you come into his covenant people you will sing this song of redemption. It's beautiful.
Now look at verse, just a couple of other little points here. Look at verse 106: "And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him, him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also." Sisters and brothers, as you look at missionaries and you say take the strong elders and sisters and pair them with the struggling and they're going to become stronger. That's a beautiful application. We see it in homes, we see it in callings, we see it in the mission field, but to me, the most powerful manifestation of verse 106 is that it's another – it's another sign to me that Jesus is a do as I do kind of a leader rather than a just do as I say. So you'll notice Jesus teaches principles of the gospel, but he doesn't just say them, he then lives them and he shows you this is what it looks like when you put that teaching into practice. His whole life is filled with - verse 106 - he who is the strongest of all saying I'm going to take you who are weak and I'm going to combine with you so that I can edify you so that at the end, you who are weak can be made strong. So if you're in that kind of a companionship either in a family setting or in a mission setting or any other setting, if you want to be more like Christ, more Christ-like, then you look for people whose hands are hanging down, whose knees are a little bit weak and feeble and you go, that's what Jesus would do. That's how to become Christ–like is go and strengthen them and lift them up and help them to move forward. Love it.
To finish, let's jump down to verse 19 – or 119: "For I, the Lord, have put forth my hand to exert the powers of heaven; ye cannot see it now, yet a little while and ye shall see it, and know that I am, and that I will come and reign with my people." That language, look for those two phrases throughout scriptures if you can do a word search. Your God and my people and just watch how much that covenantal, connecting language shows up in a variety of places in the scriptures. Here it is again. "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end." There is nothing that this world has to offer you that can compare or even – even come close to being in a conversation with what God can and does offer us.
Even all that he has. All that he has. Remember the phrase that Elder Maxwell used once where he said that he shared the concept of if we give God all that we have, he'll give us all that he has, and then Elder Maxwell's conclusion: what an exchange rate! Now that's an investment that we pray that we can all make more fully as we enter into higher and higher orders of this covenant – covenantal connection with God. Know that he lives. Know that he loves you and that these principles are true and he is faithful to them and perfectly loyal to us. Now it's our turn to plead with him to help us be more loyal to him. And that's our prayer and we leave it with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. Know that you're loved.
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